Teranga closes at 7pm (and 9pm on Friday and Saturday), but even if you need to schedule a “doctor’s appointment” during lunch or eat dinner while the sun is still up, you should find a way to get to this counter-service West African spot as soon as possible. Inside The Africa Center on the northeast corner of Central Park, the all-day restaurant serves DIY grain bowls as well as a few preset options. You should focus on ones with fonio (like light, nutty couscous) and tender grilled chicken with lots of garlic and lime. No matter which bowl you order, make sure to get a side of kelewele - spicy fried plantains that are crunchy on the outside and very soft inside. The most expensive bowl is $14, so it’s a great option for a quick and inexpensive meal, which you can either eat in the bright, casual space or across the street in Central Park.
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Earl’s Beer & Cheese
Earl’s menu of pig and cheese heavy snacks pairs perfectly with the small but righteous selection of draft beers that they have on tap. Head up north sometime to check it out, and also visit Earl’s sister restaurant around the corner, ABV.
The Lexington Social
The Lexington Social is a bar in East Harlem with an excellent Happy Hour and some small Mediterranean plates.
The original Patsy’s in East Harlem makes excellent pizza for a sit-down meal or a slice at the counter.
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Tamra Teahouse is a casual cafe in Crown Heights that makes very good Asian and African mashup dishes.
Suggested by our writers
Melba’s is a spot in Harlem with some great fried chicken, catfish, and waffles. Try it for a casual meal, and get a side of mac and cheese.
Kingston is a casual Jamaican restaurant on 116th Street in Harlem with a fun bar and really good jerk chicken.
Lenox Saphire Harlem
Lenox Saphire is a bar and restaurant in Harlem with outdoor seating, DJ events, and generally a lot of people having fun.
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